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Stunned Muller

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, June 3rd, 2020 - 85 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, human rights, national, todd muller, uncategorized - Tags:

Yesterday was not a great day for Todd Muller.

I do not know who his media advisers are but the first question he should have prepared for was what the most predictable question ever in the history of politics.

And it came. He was asked “[d]o you think Donald Trump is a racist”?

This was his answer.

It is up to Donald Trump?  The current POTUS who has shown how unbelievably appalling he is as a leader in so many ways, the latest being the way he has totally botched a pandemic and the way he has let the response to the George Floyd murder spiral totally out of control?

Every day there is something more insane.  Yesterday it was the gassing of protestors to clear an area near the White House so that Trump could have a photo op with a bible.

And the calling in of the National Guard. And the leaked tape of a call with Governors where he attacked them for being weak for not calling in military while he hid in a bunker. And the attempted branding of Antifa as a terrorist organisation.

I mean shouldn’t he start with the Klu Klux Klan first if he wanted to make a statement about Black Lives actually mattering?

And people who classify themselves as being Antifa have engaged in low level violence.  Like punching Richard Spencer.

The pacifist in nme is struggling to be upset by this.

But Antifa is no more an organisation than people believing that Black lives matter is. If you are distressed by fascism then you are Antifa. I know that I am.

Getting back to Todd Muller this is how he should have answered.


Fancy being that weak that he would run away from a question about if Trump was a racist.

I suspect for the brains trust the end of the election cannot come quickly enough.  Then they can put an end to Todd Muller’s reign and install Chris Luxon.

85 comments on “Stunned Muller ”

  1. If you are distressed by fascism then you are Antifa.

    Not so! If you're opposed to fascism, you're an anti-fascist. If you're a violent narcissist who loves smashing other people's stuff and thinks anyone less left than you is a fascist, you're Antifa. There's actually a big difference, don't let people lump you in with those fucks.

    • Phil 1.1

      If you're a violent narcissist who loves smashing other people's stuff and thinks anyone less left than you is a fascist, you're Antifa.

      This sentence couldn't be more Fox News Playbook if you tried.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.1

        Meh. I first encountered the creeps in Germany in the mid-90s, and they struck me as being just as dangerous as the neo-Nazis. Nothing since then has given me reason to change my mind. And I had one trying to tell me on Twitter the other day that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are Nazis. In this particular instance, Fox isn't that far off the mark.

        • swordfish

          Don't let the fashionably radical ex-Boarding School Woke in their Che Guevara Rik Mayall urban guerilla berets hear you say that. Like Scientologists, the Intersectional Cult doesn't much care for critics & heretics.

          You'll rapidly find your character assassinated with wild abandon … & possibly more than a touch of emotional incontinence. Usual modus operandi involves 2 or 3 Cult members turning up on social media to perform a kind of cancel-culture pincer movement against the chosen victim-apostate, ruthlessly (often hilariously) attacking from all sides.

          Your critique will certainly leave them shaken down at the Varsity Anarchist Society.

          • mac1

            You're saying we must be deferens to the VAS?

            I remember back in the Sixties listening to some beret-wearing member of the far-left group of the time, so memorable I can’t remember its name, whose idea of destroying the establishment was to go down and graffiti the local police station in Wellington.

            He’s probably a retired banker by now.

            The occasion in Wellington was the Peace Power and Politics in Asia conference in 1968. Four years later the Kirk government withdrew our troops from Vietnam.

            • swordfish

              LOL. Occupying the Uni Refrectory, so what ??? This is the real thing ! … graffiting an actual Police Station ,,, we’re Desperados !!!

              Ahhh, the 60s … marched against the Vietnam War myself … well, rode against it as a nipper in nappies in a pushchair Nov 1965 (one of the earliest large-ish demonstrations in Wellington … by all accounts: as many trade unionists & trad Labour people (sprinkling of Trots & Marxist-Leninists too) … as there were young earnest duffel-coat-wearing Middle-Class proto-Hippie Boomers).

            • Grumpy

              Try "Progressive Youth Movement"…..

              • mac1

                Those were they.

                I was wearing the duffel coat, with faux bone toggles, draped negligently across the shoulders, cape style with scarf swept carelessly around the neck.

                Thus draped I was once hit with an egg, luckily raw, thrown by a counter-demonstrator. mac1. Middle (acting) Class proto-hippie Boomer.

                Move over, Muller.

          • lprent

            They tend to annoy me about as much as rw and mindless trolls do, and for the same reasons. Piss-poor behaviour, good at being critics, couldn’t figure out something to do that actually might work, and generally rigid incoherent thinkers who crap their ideas straight from a manual rather than use their brains..

            • swordfish

              They tend to annoy me about as much as rw and mindless trolls do, and for the same reasons.

              Spot on. Crude, child-like, low-resolution worldview combined with a highly deluded sense of moral superiority, a marked tendency toward performative narcissism & a deep vein of anti-democratic intolerance. Spoiled brats lacking self-awareness.

              I’m in a charitable mood today.

      • Cinny 1.1.2

        If you're a violent narcissist who loves smashing other people's stuff and thinks anyone less left than you is a fascist, you're Antifa my tory ex husband.

        Fixed it 🙂 Lmao!

    • Spot on, PM. There's some things fundamentally lacking in the antifa movement. For one, there's no coherent political position and secondly the devolved structure means that there isn't the internal discipline need to deliver actual change. Plus being 'anti' is no vote winner. You can't build a mass movement for positive change with a negative as a core message.

  2. Andre 2

    … gassing of protestors to clear an area …

    That's a massive understatement. Clergy were gassed to drive them from their church grounds so the fake-bronze false-prophet could have his photo-op.

    But to be fair to Muller, that particular outrage wasn't related to racism. It’s just more evidence of the Manchurian Rot-melon’s complete lack of any redeeming features (as if any more evidence were needed).

  3. Muller imagined himself attaining Leadership, but he never imagined Donald Trump's behaviour, and to be fair most of us are shocked at how the President is behaving and how this is all turning out.

    No Leader will call out another Leader directly. Todd Muller could have said "This looks very bad" or something which agreed the case indirectly, but Todd is not an adroit thinker.

    Racism is rife in America, and their Police are chosen by locals with their beliefs reinforced by their choices.

    What we need to guard against is "othering".

    The danger of "them and us " in any form plays into fascism.

    Trump is desperate to win the election by any means. He uses weakness in their system and the fears of people.

    • Tricledrown 3.1

      Lame Muler limping into clown mode minister of silly talks,his finger puppets can't even mime the words properly.

      Judith Collins has backed what she thought was a thoroughbred but turned to be an ass.

  4. bernard 4

    Todd Muller-the way he stands and speaks loudly and waves his arms ridgidly in front of him reminds me a bit of a little man from the 1940`s with a moustache,all thats missing is clenched fists.(and a moustache)

    • Incognito 4.1

      You appear to be a new user on this site and I’ve approved your comment. However, I find your comment unhelpful and flawed as it attacks Muller’s appearance, not his message, and makes a dubious and irrelevant comparison to a historical figure with a very bad reputation.

      Please familiarise yourself with this site’s Policy: https://thestandard.org.nz/policy/

    • That_guy 4.2

      So yeah this is a stupid and pointless comment that attacks the physical appearance of another human being and immediately goes full Nazi. Please do better.

  5. That_guy 5

    Because he's afraid of losing the racist vote if he just comes out and says it, which he needs to nix Winston. It's a political calculation.

    He's a bit like Fox News. Not racist, but #1 with racists. Well, maybe #2.

  6. Paul 6

    The thing about the USA is that it has always focussed on freedom (as opposed to countries like NZ that focus on a 'fair go'). But its hard to see how any one can have freedom when large groups of people live in fear of racism, of school shootings, of mass shootings, of poverty, have no mandated paid leave provisions, a buggered health system etc etc etc. It's sad – very sad and certainly not freedom.

  7. Andre 7

    I can't believe I'm defending Muller here, but the reality is even vastly more capable and experienced leaders can struggle with what to say when asked about Donny Rotten's personal qualities.


    • joe90 7.1


      • Andre 7.1.1

        Gotta wonder if daddy's words were also running through Justin's mind during those 20 seconds of meditation.

    • Sacha 7.2

      One is gathering his thoughts before a coherent and leaderly speech; the other is gaping like a goober then uttering one banal line.

      • Sacha 7.2.1

        Unfortunately tweets only auto-embed in comments, not the original post above:


        • Sacha

          OK, apparently 'events' do not embed anywhere. Doh.

        • lprent

          They should be able to auto-embed in posts?

          I’ll try it out when I get some time. First day back in the workplace so I’m kind of busy getting the damn hardware shifted over and reinstalled, upgrading the software on the gear I didn’t take home, and testing the firmware that was such a pain to look at in my small apartment (damn annoying to spend half an hour looking for a mini usb cable)

          • Sacha

            Might be designed that way at their end. More important tweaks here I'd wager.

          • Macro

            Lynn – WTFJHT is also experiencing the same problem with twitter links in comments as well not auto-embeding. As Sacha suggests – seems to be a problem with their updated system.

            • Sacha

              These are not regular tweets – and it's the only time any of us have tried to link to one so far. Unless that changes, Lynn has bigger fish to fry.

      • Chris 7.2.2

        People on the street who've been asked a question about anything then had a microphone shoved in their face do better than Muller ever has. May it continue.

  8. tc 8

    Toddy should've seen that coming and been ready as any half decent CEO is ready for the curly ones.

    After all the cap does fit national so better sharpen up before Winnie and the likes of Tamaki erode that swinging vote that’s up for a dog whistle.

  9. mac1 9

    Is Trump a racist? All of humanity is in some way prejudiced. I see no one picking up a stone……..

    What is the purpose of the question? Is it to seek out whether Muller is racist? Is it to test his definition of racism? Is it to attack Trump? Is it to signal that the questioner is not racist?

    What can the Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand do to act on Trump's racism? Or, better, what can he/we do to act on the racism within New Zealand?

    • left_forward 9.1

      I agree with you mac1 – the appropriate response is to self reflect on what this question of racism means and examine the tendency to project one's own pain / guilt onto another, no matter how big, blatant and obvious someone else's canvas is, as in Trump.

      • mac1 9.1.1

        "one's own pain / guilt"……. that will take some teasing out.

        I saw a poster on FaceBook along the lines of, "I you ever wondered what you'd do during slavery, the Holocaust or the civil rights movement: then you're doing it now."

        • left_forward

          Re: pain / guilt – our shared experience is that we are encouraged by family and society to judge ourselves and each other – a never ending comparison, where we are relentlessly expected to assess our own worthiness against another. This causes us to project our own guilt for not being sufficiently worthy onto others in a futile attempt to relieve the pain of not living up to our own expectations. It is a neurosis we all share to different extents (not just Trump or white supremacists). Racism is its tribal form. In reality of course, we are all equally worthy, period.

          • mac1

            Thanks for the explanation.

            The problem with both Muller and I is our shared Catholic upbringing. "Domine, non sum dignus". The intrinsic belief that we are not worthy, poor sinners.

            The prayer concludes. “But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

            How does a society heal its soul? Holding up a bible outside a church cleared by troopers?

            • left_forward

              "Domine, non sum dignus"

              Interesting how this phrase reveals its meaning from the latin roots of English words. Trump's command to the State Governors to 'dominate' in this context is to act as if he / they are God.

              Non sum meaning I am not, and dignus providing the root of the word for dignity or worthiness.

              Being made to feel unworthy is at the root of this anger – black lives are indeed worthy! All lives are worthy!

              Whether Catholic or not, we all judge ourselves as unworthy. The healing starts with each one of us – and requires us to start by loving ourselves as the amazing beings that we are.

              Then we will be ready to heed some of the words from Trump’s bible –

              “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”

              • mac1

                Dominus was what a servus/slave called his master in Rome.

                Does this feeling unworthy also fuel the anger of the underclass poor white trash supremacist?

                Does it explain their champion, Trump, himself?

              • mac1

                left_forward, I've asked a lot of questions, some rhetorical, and I thank you for your explanations and your compassionate understanding.

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    Diplomacy and honesty don't always work hand in hand. I think only the Green Party would have the courage to properly call Trump out.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I don't think any cabinet minister has called Trump out as racist.

    • observer 10.1

      I wouldn't expect any PM of NZ to call the President of the USA a racist … directly. There are diplomatic requirements for leaders that the rest of us don't have.

      But in the aftermath of the mosque attacks Ardern did slap Trump down at her press conference. What a leader avoids saying is a pretty strong signal too.

      As for Muller, again I wouldn't expect him to say "yes he is". But there are dozens of ways for politicians to respond to a question they don't like. He couldn't manage one, simply because he is hopeless at this job he wanted.

      • Gosman 10.1.1

        Give me an example of a way in which he should have responded that would have been acceptable?

        • roy cartland

          "Frankly it would be outside the bounds of recognised international diplomacy for me to say that: The president – of the United States – Donald Trump – is a racist".

          But what I will say…etc

          • observer

            Oh yeah, Key loved that one.

            "Will he sack the Minister?"

            "What I can say is …" (ignores Q).

            Annoying, sure. But when a journo says jump, you don't jump – unless you want to.

        • woodart

          do your own(party) work gosman. if you and toddler cant figure out how to think and walk at the same time, you need extra tuition after school.not a hard question to expect or neatly sidestep.

        • Tricledrown

          Gosman you know how out of touch the last leader was

    • Chris T 10.2

      I haven't even seen Ardern asked the same question.

      The closest I have seen is did she think the dudes death was bad.


      Well obviously.

      Our journalists can be a bit shit sometimes.

      • observer 10.2.1

        You can see it here: 0.48, exactly the same question, same reporter.

        Ardern press conference, yesterday

        Like Muller, she did not answer directly (no sensible leader would). Unlike Muller, she did not appear fazed by it. Anticipating and avoiding the Qs you don't want are basic political skills, which the leader of the opposition will need to learn.

  11. mac1 11

    Todd Muller is not a stunned mullet, btw. Stunned mullets don't flap!

  12. observer 12

    It's clear from this morning's interviews that the media training has kicked in. Much less arm waving, and sorting out confusion on the time delay.

    He's now ready to be a new candidate standing somewhere down the party list.

    • Agreed Observer. I thought Muller sounded competent on Morning Report this morning.

      I noted that he could list 6 criteria out of his head (unless he was looking at a list which I doubt) so the election cannot be taken for granted.

      He has the farmers with him and will probably get most business people behind him by September. That, coupled with ACT, is a potentially winning combination.

      Let's all hope the Greens get 5% (which I think they will).

  13. How many business people remember their struggles in the GFC? 12 short years ago.

    How much actual help did they get then?

    How many Farmers actually believe they need to work on climate change?

    Both groups may vote for a more supportive Government, and the Key years are not forgotten.

  14. Adrian 14

    If Hooten is involved with the Muller Team , and I use that word loosely, I would love to have a secret camera in there, The Thick Of It wouldn't have a patch on it, but shit it would be funny to watch.

  15. DS 15

    I'm hardly a Nat, but honestly, this is Gotcha Questioning. No Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition can call the President of the United States a racist – and in this particular case, saying Trump isn't racist would provoke a firestorm. All you can do is fob off the question – as Muller did.

    • observer 15.1

      A "gotcha" question is unexpected. Asking about something that the journalist knows about, but the politician doesn't. ("Do you agree with your MP who has just said …?").

      The story dominating the world news is hardly a surprising thing to be asked about. So he didn't need to be thinking on his feet. He only needed to have prepared for the obvious. The opposite of a "gotcha".

      You're right to say he fobbed it off, and that was all he could be expected to do. How well he did it is a matter of opinion. Badly, I'd suggest.

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        Again, what would have been the better response?

        • observer

          You want me to spend my day teaching you or Muller "Politics for Beginners"?

          Dozens of options. Ardern had one (see 10.2.1 above). Pick and mix any combinations of the obvious –

          "not for me to comment on another elected leader … inappropriate … interfere in other countries' internal affairs … reject racism in all its forms … our responsibility is to the NZ public … blah blah … next question"

          Politicians know how not to answer. Clark: the glare. Key: the shrug.

          Stunned silence – not an option.

          • McFlock

            I certainly wouldn't dare to know the true source of an individual's motives, and the outcome of poorly-chosen but well-meaning words can be as damaging as well-chosen words inspired by negative motives.

            Not talking about bunker-baby here, but Gosman 🙂

        • Grafton Gully

          "I reject completely the divisive actions of any head of state that weaken our resolve to face and defeat the dangers that threaten us."

          • In Vino

            Imagine if any reporter were stupid enough to ask Winston that question…

            Gosman, it is obvious that Muller hasn't even thought about the attitudes and skills needed. You asked a dumb question.

        • Tricledrown

          Obviously National has jumped out of the frying pan into the fire and needs someone with a Brain.not some silo thinker from middle management.

    • Macro 15.2

      No Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition can call the President of the United States a racist

      But they can called the POTUS a "just a peanut farmer"..

      Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday dismissed former United States Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun as a pecan farmer from Alabama.

      The terse remark was reminiscent of the sneering reference in 1977 by former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, who described US President Jimmy Carter as just a peanut farmer from Georgia.


  16. observer 16

    Answering reporters' questions is one thing. But preparing and asking your own questions is as simple as it gets. You're not going to be caught unawares, are you? But … still too hard for Todd.

    In Parliament just now he couldn't even follow the beginner's rule of phrasing his Qs properly. All over the place.


    • Chris T 16.1

      Muller is starting to look a bit of a knob at question time.

      How many times can you ask the same fricken question before you just look lost ffs

      • observer 16.1.1

        I suppose the one consolation for National is that Bridges often looked effective vs Ardern at Question Time (his prosecutor experience showed) but it did him no good in the long run. Not many people watch it really.

        Trouble is, Muller doesn't have a long run.

    • Chris T 16.2

      Having said that. Ardern could do with losing the slogans

  17. Peter 17

    Trudeau paused for 21 seconds before answering the question. Seems quite a long time when you watch and wait doesn't it?

    Something to reflect on:

    If Trudeau had continued for 505 more seconds he would have used up the time the knee was on George Floyd's neck.

    • Incognito 17.1

      If only Derek Chauvin had engaged his brain for 21 seconds, George Floyd might possibly have been still alive.

      • Tricledrown 17.1.1

        If George Floyd was white he would still be alive.

        After the recent slaughtering of an innocent jogger and the initial failing to prosecute the vigilante murder.

        The Covid 19 statistics for the US for African Americans Casual low paid jobs poor access the healthcare housing education etc then Add Trump.

        The US is in major trouble

  18. mary_a 18

    A good question to ask Todd Muller, a good Catholic guided by and influenced by his strong faith he says, is this … what's his opinion on Trump and Mrs T standing humbly in front of a Catholic church, paying homage at a statue of former Pope, now Saint John Paul? Particularly relevent, after the actions of yesterday, police using violence moving peaceful protesters, to make room for Trump to walk to a nearby Episcopalian church, for him to brandish a bible for cheap publicity! As a leader of a major political party, I'm sure the electorate would be interested in Muller's response to these recent events!

    As Trump seems to be doing the rounds of the churches at present, I take it this action will also include Mosques, Synagogues, Temples etc?

  19. SPC 19

    Trump and history

    1. Thought the pandemic would be over by summer

    His own grandfather died on 30 May 1918 of the flu

    2. His belief in use of force to crush protest and the criminalisation of those arrested (10 year sentences)

    His father was arrested wearing a KKK robe in 1927 at a protest they organised in New York, the only one of 7 arrested (for not obeying police orders) not later charged.

    3. The claim of his father (from the 40's) and later also the Donald until the late 80"s that they had Swedish ancestry.

    When this lie was exposed, the Donald claimed his father was German (his father was born in the Bronx to German parents).

  20. Corey Humm 20

    I hate to defend Todd but so what if he didn’t condemn Trump or call him a racist the pm last night said it would be inappropriate for an NZ leader to comment on US domestic affairs and she’s right and Todd like all world leaders including the PM dance around this question so it’s unfair for him to be judged to a higher standard than the pm on this question.

    Besides if Todd is to be judged a racist for his maga hat surely Jacinda is a racist for her close personal friendship with Danish PM from Labours sister party Mette Fredrickson, whose opinions on refugees and immigration and on LGBT and minority issues are arguably more deplorable than Trump’s but everyone was eating up their talko love fest in Facebook last month.

    We are a small trading nation and like the pm said “we should focus on our backyards” the last thing we need is other world leaders calling out our national shames of which there are many.

    • observer 20.1

      Please read the comments and links provided. Your point has already been answered several times.

      Both Muller and Ardern were asked the same question. Nobody (reasonable) would expect him – or her – to say "Yes, Trump is a racist". But we could reasonably expect them to handle it much better than Muller did.

  21. Barfly 21

    Yeah gotta say criticising the president of the USA doesn't come easy these days.

    I seem to remember Muldoon calling Jimmy Carter "just a failed peanut farmer" or something very close – different times I guess. Mind you if he were still alive I would imagine his opinion of Trump (which he would state) would be absolutely excoriating.

  22. TJ 22

    He, ultimately, will be able to make that call himself…

    That isn't the same as "Ultimately its up to Trump to decide if he’s a racist or not…" as stated in the tweet account. In desperation to attack Trump, whoever Bounder is, straw-manned their own argument.

    In NZ culture, what Muller said was, "In situations where powerful things occur, I would certainly be the man in overall control."

    He wasn't "lost for words", or underprepared. He's just another National Party Cyborg.

  23. NZJester 23

    Most of the Terrorist attacks in the US have been done by White Nationalists. But Donald Trump has in the past posted tweets saying they are not all bad and excusing their protests and violent actions.

    If you have a peaceful protest by people of colour that the police try to break up, suddenly Donald Trump says the protestors are thugs and the police should take stronger action against them.

    This is a man who at campaign rallies has goaded on his supporters to attack people peacefully protesting against him.

    A lot of the people that have been attacking the Antifa people at the pipeline protests for instance are actually hired thugs, a lot are off-duty police officers being paid by the oil companies to be security or people that have failed tests to become police offices and joined private security companies instead.

    I see he is saying now he was not hiding in the bunker in the Whitehouse, it was just an inspection.

    There are photos of Trumps father in a Klu Klux Klan robe. His father was arrested at a protest set up by the Klu Klux Klan at one time, but he claims his father was never in the Klu Klux Klan. His father was fined a number of times for the way he tried to exclude Black tenants from renting his properties.
    The saying goes “The Apple does not fall far from the tree.”

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